It is soothing enough to maintain
a family Christmas tradition.
Christmas is my life jacket this night,
for tradition demands a hand-made card.
This obligation rescues me
with purpose and diversion.
It is soothing enough to hear easy chatter
in the distance. Tragedy delayed one more day.
I sit outside our door ajar,
an ear alert to fitful stirring within.
Christmas images dance unwillingly,
slow to congeal in my brooding thoughts.
My knife bites into linoleum, creates an outline.
A word slowly rises. The letter A. Then N.
G-E-L. So appropriate,
so frighteningly appropriate.
Inside, he stirs, deeply breathes sterile air.
Please don’t give my baby wings just yet!
I carve with care! I carve with gentleness.
I carve health for my baby.
The uneasy calm is pierced by sudden
terror next door.
A flurry of nurses, a doctor, a jangling cart of
desperate medicines scream down the hall to my neighbor.
I retreat to the safety of my softly breathing child.
Darkness a haven, his mere breath my refuge.
A Christmas angel flutters and spreads its wings beside us.